On Saturday 2nd June, 7 Exmouth Harriers decided that their Jubilee weekend celebrations should incorporate some form of running activity and, as luck would have it, on the local race calendar was the 7 mile multi-terrain race, the Talaton Trotter.
Starting and finishing in the village of Talaton, near Ottery St Mary, the course is basically a figure of eight and multi-terrain in every possible sense. There are places where it becomes almost impossible to run, as steep gradients, gates, styles and river and rail crossings all need to be negotiated. Many racers, even at the front end of the field, were reduced to a walk in some places! However, there were also the more mellow country lanes, farm tracks and paths to canter along too where you could really shift. (Roger Rowe reports that his range of speed recorded on his Garmin peaked at 5:30m/m and troughed at 10m/m!) It's that kind of course that keeps your legs guessing, and working, until the end. The first half of the course is basically easy with only one nasty long grass-covered hill, whilst the hard work is saved up for the second half, which contains most of the hills. The humid temperatures on the day will have only made those hills feel even harder!! So, there's the background info, how did our Harriers fair?
Pretty darn well actually!! As is so often the case when he runs, Adam Miller was the first Harrier home in 45:42 (remember with all these times, this is 7 miles, not 10k, and 7 off-road hilly miles!). For always-the-bridesmaid-rarely-the-bride Adam though, this gave him yet another 4th place in a race whose prizes went down to 3rd... However, Adam had also run around the Parkrun with girlfriend, Carly, that morning, so on fresh legs, could he have hung onto the 2 runners in front of him that he was tail-gating the whole way round? Who knows. But you can bet that Adam will have given it everything to stay with them and this is still a very fine performance in a field of 83 hard-core off-roadie runners.
Next in, in a time of 53:05, was Andrew Johnson. This gave Andrew a highly commendable 12th place overall and 2nd in an always competitive MV45 category.
Then came the first of that family of racing snakes, the Dupain clan, in the form of Hannah Bown. This was the family's 3rd race in as many weeks and it was another successful one for Hannah on her comeback to full fitness from pregnancy. She followed up her 4th place at the Ottery 10k and her 2nd place at last week's 'Little Long Run' fell race with another 4th place amongst the female entrants here at Talaton and 21st place overall. Like Adam, Hannah is always breathing down the necks of the podium placed finishers, and as her fitness continues to develop over the summer, it is surely only a matter of time before she is up there taking the prizes herself on each outing.
Then came Roger Rowe, who, like Adam, had also raced around the Parkrun that same morning so didn't have the freshest of legs. Nevertheless, he didn't let this stop him from going out hard and asserting his authority on the field, taking 30th spot overall, easily 1st MV65 and, as always, placing very highly in the field if you were to calculate placings according to age-graded percentage. Most of all, Roger claimed to have enjoyed the run, which took in some stunning countryside and the beautiful grounds of Escot House, and he plans to head back there to enjoy the course again at a more sedate pace, as it's only 3 miles from his home.
Next in, and running together, were father and daughter team, Nigel and Emma Dupain. Emma's still coming back into fitness and recovering from her broken ribs, so chivilrous Dad Nigel ran around the course with her to keep her company! I'm sure they had a great time and they put in solid performances to boot, crossing the line in times of 1:00:41 and 1:00:42. This gave Nigel 41st place and 4th MV60 and Emma 42nd place and 10th female.
Also having a fun day out on the trails was Roger Riggs. Now recovered from his superb sub-2h half-marathon performance at the Great West Run, Roger is back to enjoying his training and running again and is trying out some of the different types of race on offer on the local circuit. At Talaton he took 1:06:27 to cover the 7 mile course and this gave him 59th place overall and a very hard earned 3rd MV55.
Not forgetting that this is Jubilee Weekend, each finisher received a specially commissioned Talaton Trotter Jubilee mug. The race was also part of the Talaton Village Day, so the friendly, low-key village atmosphere that is characteristic of so many Axe Valley organised races, made for a fun way to spend the Jubilee Satrurday afternoon.